Posted by: glasskeys | 09/06/2011

How to change the User Agent string of the Android Honeycomb browser.

(To view a larger image with a more detailed description tap or click a thumbnail.)

In a previous post I showed how to set the User Agent string whilst using Atomic Web Browser on the iPad to render web pages in standard or non-mobile layouts. With Android Honeycomb changing the User Agent string is permitted by default, allowing one to enjoy web content without experiencing the ugly layout compromises and clumsy usability drawbacks of sites that serve specialised layouts intended to accommodate tablet devices.

As we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so the only remaining viable option is to “fool” remote web servers into believing a desktop web browser instead of a tablet web browser is requesting HTML content. The most common way to do this is to change the User Agent string, which tells a remote web server: “I am a browser running on a desktop, so don’t mess about with the layout please.”

To make the User Agent string of the Android Browser say this, tap the Options menu icon at top right (see screenshots), and Settings in the drop menu. In the Settings screen, select Advanced in the left section, then scroll down and select User agent string. Change the default setting from Tablet to Desktop in the dialog menu and voila, after reopening the Android Browser you can now browse web pages and other content sans hideous tablet layouts.

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